19. GOD’S BLESSINGS ARE OFTEN TESTS.
Here is a second lesson from Exodus 16:4.
The manna that God provided six days a week was both a blessing and a test. Would the Israelites obey in only gathering what they needed each day (except on Friday), and would they obey in not going out to gather anything on Saturday? Some did not obey; they failed the tests. What about us? Will we use the blessings He bestows in harmony with His will or will we use them disobediently? Money, for example, can be a great blessing, enabling one to give and do good works to God’s glory (cf. Eph. 4:28; I Tim. 6:17-19), but this is only the case if we are its master. If we allow money to possess us, so to speak, the blessing will turn into a curse (cf. I Tim. 6:10).
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19. GOD’S BLESSINGS ARE OFTEN TESTS.
18. GOD WILL PROVIDE FOR THE NEEDS OF HIS CHILDREN.
Exodus 16:4,35 – “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not’…And the children of Israel ate manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land; they ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.”
How could God feed over two million people in the wilderness for nearly four decades? Miraculously! God provided for them as He promises to do for any today who seek first His kingdom and righteousness (cf. Matt. 6:33). We must trust Him and do our part, and He will take care of us.
Getting ready to leave for the Southern Illinois Preachers’ Retreat. Should be a good time of study & fellowship, as always. This year’s theme: Joshua, Judges, & Ruth.
17. MAJORITY RULE IS OFTEN A BAD IDEA.
Exodus 16:2,3 – “Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. And the children of Israel said to them, ‘Oh, that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
This lesson is underscored in Exodus 23:2 also – “You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice.” We must ascertain what is right based on the teaching of God’s word, not based upon who or how many support a particular action. A man who always checks to see which way “the wind is blowing” before speaking or acting might make for a popular politician but he won’t be a good leader. Majority rule is not inherently wrong, but it is often a bad idea.
16. GOD IS WORTHY OF OUR PRAISE–ESPECIALLY WHEN HE BLESSES US.
Exodus 15:1,2 – “Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the LORD, and spoke, saying: ‘I will sing to the LORD for He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea! The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; my father’s God, and I will exalt Him.’”
The destruction of the Egyptian army was a great reason to rejoice. In truth, God is always worthy of our praise, even in difficult times. But, humans are naturally more inclined to praise Him when overcoming a challenging situation. At the very least, if we don’t praise Him then, we are selfish, ungrateful creatures indeed. Our aim should be to praise Him always (cf. Eph. 5:20; Phil. 4:4)!
15. WHEN THE LORD IS ON YOUR SIDE, THERE IS NOTHING TO FEAR.
Exodus 14:10,14 – “And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the LORD…’The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.’”
In general, the Israelites had weak faith and were scared; in contrast, Moses had strong faith and was fearless. Lack of faith and fear are always related. God provided them a way of escape to their difficulty, as He still does for us today (cf. I Cor. 10:13). If you allow fear to conquer you, cripple you, or turn you into a complainer, your faith is exposed as weak–trust and obey, friends (cf. Matt. 10:28)!
14. MEMORIALS ARE A GREAT WAY TO TEACH CHILDREN.
Exodus 12:24-27 – “And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your sons forever. It will come to pass when you come to the land which the LORD will give you, just as He promised, that you shall keep this service. And it shall be, when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ that you shall say, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice of the LORD…’”
When children witness a memorial of any type, they are inclined to ask questions out of curiosity. Such is the perfect teaching opportunity to explain the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the matter under consideration.
13. GOD IS SUPERIOR TO ANY IDOL.
Exodus 12:12 – “For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment; I am the LORD.”
There is only one God! It was true then and it is still true today. Jehovah excels our modern man-made “deities” such as money, pleasure, power, recreation, and beauty. The wise will behave accordingly.
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12. GOD WILL BE GLORIFIED–EVEN IF WE ARE BENT ON REBELLION.
Exodus 11:9 – “But the LORD said to Moses, ‘Pharaoh will not heed you, so that My wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.’”
God is so amazing that He can make human wickedness yield something good (cf. Gen. 50:19,20; Calvary)!
(11) PRIDE CAUSES SOME TO STUBBORNLY REFUSE TO DO THE RIGHT THING, REGARDLESS OF THE COST TO THEMSELVES.
11. PRIDE CAUSES SOME TO STUBBORNLY REFUSE TO DO THE RIGHT THING, REGARDLESS OF THE COST TO THEMSELVES.
Exodus 10:3,7 – “So Moses and Aaron came in to Pharaoh and said to him, ‘Thus says the LORD God of the Hebrews: ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, that they may serve Me.’ Then Pharaoh’s servants said to him, ‘How long shall this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God. Do you not yet know that Egypt is destroyed?’”
Pharaoh’s real problem was simple: a lack of humility! The power of his position had gone to his head. He would not tolerate defeat, though he would learn in time that fighting against Jehovah always leads to failure. Even his advisors can see the proper course to pursue, but Pharaoh is blinded by his arrogance. Some today will foolishly “dig in their heels” regarding a certain sin and consequently suffer greatly, when the wise thing to do would be to swallow one’s pride, admit wrong, and change!
10. THE WICKED WILL MAKE ALL SORTS OF PROMISES TO GOD WHEN THEY ARE DESPERATE.
Exodus 8:28 – “So Pharaoh said, ‘I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only you shall not go very far away. Intercede for me.’”
Pharaoh made many empty promises while begging for mercy, but then his heart hardened time after time and he refused to honor his word (cf. 8:32). We must be careful to always be people of our word before both God and men (cf. Matt. 5:37). Human nature is such that we are tempted to make great pledges of devotion and service when in a bind but then following through when the crisis has diminished is harder.
9. AGE IS NO INDICATOR OF USEFULNESS TO THE LORD.
Exodus 7:7 – “And Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three years old when they spoke to Pharaoh.”
This is true on both ends of the spectrum, whether young or old. Moses did his greatest work in the last third of his life. If blood still courses through a Christian’s veins, there is work for him or her to do in God’s kingdom, regardless of age (cf. I Tim. 4:12; Titus 2:1-5).
8. WHEN EFFORT IS MADE TO DO GOD’S WILL, OPPOSITION WILL OFTEN BE ENCOUNTERED.
Exodus 5:17,18 – “But he said, ‘You are idle! Idle! Therefore you say, “Let us go and sacrifice to the LORD.” Therefore go now and work; for no straw shall be given you, yet you shall deliver the quota of bricks.’”
Pharaoh opposed Israel strongly regarding the idea of leaving Egypt (even temporarily). Today, a Christian may have to deal with opposition from his boss, his friends, or even his family, but such opposition must be overcome. Others will sometimes make it difficult for us to obey the Lord, but we must endeavor to do what is right regardless of the opposition we face.
7. TO MAKE WORK MORE IMPORTANT THAN GOD’S WILL IS A MISTAKE.
Exodus 5:4,5 – “Then the king of Egypt said to them, ‘Moses and Aaron, why do you take the people from their work? Get back to your labor.’ And Pharaoh said, ‘Look, the people of the land are many now, and you make them rest from their labor!’”
Pharaoh didn’t care about God’s will, but Christians today must. It is regrettably the case that sometimes duties conflict with each other. We need to provide for our family (cf. I Tim. 5:8) and we need to assemble with the saints (cf. Heb. 10:24,25). In our culture, sometimes people are required to work on Sunday mornings (a police officer, for example). If such is the case, that person will be present Sunday evening to worship if at all possible (which is a fundamental reason for having a Sunday evening assembly). However, if one’s job prevents him from regularly gathering with the saints any time on the Lord’s day, it would be wise to seek different employment. One who is unwilling to do this has misaligned priorities.
6. THERE ARE MANY WHO DENY GOD & HIS SOVEREIGNTY, BUT THEY WILL NOT REMAIN IN THAT STATE FOREVER.
Exodus 5:2 – “And Pharaoh said, ‘Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, nor will I let Israel go.’”
Pharaoh had no interest in Jehovah or in submitting to His will. But, Pharaoh would learn and suffer greatly for his continued rebellion against the only true and living God! The same is true today with those who have no desire to know God or serve Him. Their rebellion will lead to great suffering both at the Judgment and even before.
(5) IF YOU WANT TO LEAD OTHERS TO DO GOD’S WILL, YOU MUST FIRST BEGIN WITH YOURSELF & YOUR OWN FAMILY.
5. IF YOU WANT TO LEAD OTHERS TO DO GOD’S WILL, YOU MUST FIRST BEGIN WITH YOURSELF & YOUR OWN FAMILY.
Exodus 4:24-26 – “And it came to pass on the way, at the encampment, that the LORD met him and sought to kill him. Then Zipporah took a sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son and cast it at Moses’ feet, and said, ‘Surely you are a husband of blood to me!’ So He let him go. Then she said, ‘You are a husband of blood!’–because of the circumcision.”
Apparently Moses had failed to circumcise one his sons as was commanded of him. How could Moses lead Israel if he wasn’t leading faithfully in his own family? God would not allow Moses to be a hypocrite, so He forced the issue and the matter was resolved. Hypocrites tell others what to do and then they do something different themselves. Good leaders are consistent in their words and deeds at every level.
4. GOD WILL ONLY PUT UP WITH OUR EXCUSES FOR SO LONG.
Exodus 4:14 – “So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and He said: ‘Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well…’”
Moses had questioned and balked at God’s command five times during their conversation at the burning bush. God was tired of it and became angry. Moses got the point and stopped making excuses and started obeying. What about us? Are we making excuses in our lives for things God has instructed us to do? It’s easy to talk ourselves out of doing the Lord’s will when it is difficult or makes us uncomfortable, but friends, God’s patience has a limit!
3. IF GOD HAS A WORK FOR US TO DO, HE WILL HELP EQUIP US FOR IT.
“Then Moses answered and said, ‘But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, “The LORD has not appeared to you.”‘ So the LORD said to him, ‘What is that in your hand?’ He said, ‘A rod.’ And He said, ‘Cast it on the ground.’ So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Reach out your hand and take it by the tail’ (and he reached out his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand), ‘that they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.’”
God had big plans for Moses as a mediator and deliverer, yet Moses initially resisted quite strongly. Moses had concerns about his ability to convince the people but God removed every obstacle. He answered Moses’ questions and gave him the necessary power. God won’t expect you to do something that you cannot do. He will give you the tools to succeed!
2. GOD KEEPS HIS PROMISES.
Exodus 3:8 – “So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites.”
Although over 400 years had passed since the giving of the promise to Abraham, God’s word had not changed. He had promised to give them the great land of Canaan and He was actively working to fulfill that promise at precisely the right time by first freeing the Israelites from bondage. God keeps His word, but we must be patient and trust in the Lord and His timing, especially when it feels as if He is “late” (cf. II Pet. 3:8,9).
1. GOD BLESSES THOSE WHO FEAR HIM.
Exodus 1:21 – “And so it was, because the midwives feared God, that He provided households for them.”
Because of the exploding Israelite population, the midwives were instructed to do something evil (i.e., murder), but they feared God more than Pharaoh and did what was right. What a good example for us today! It is still the case that those who obey God will be blessed and those who disobey Him will be cursed (cf. Deut. 28). Concentrate on pleasing the LORD (cf. Acts 5:29), and things will work out for the best.
NKJV reads [with emphasis added]: “This punishment which was inflicted by the MAJORITY is sufficient for such a man.” ESV & NET also use “majority”. KJV & ASV use “many”.
QUESTION #1: Is is safe to conclude that NOT ALL of the Corinthian brethren obeyed Paul’s command in 1 Cor 5 (regarding withdrawing fellowship from the brother involved in sexual sin)? As I look at the Greek word pleion, this seems to be correct (but I’ll defer to the “experts” among us). Paul would have used a different term if ALL of the Christians in Corinth had heeded his command, right?
QUESTION #2: What about the FEW who did NOT obey (i.e., ones who did not withdraw from the erring brother after being commanded to do so)? We would understand this to be a sin, yet there is no instruction from the apostle to discipline them (not even a rebuke). What are we to conclude from this?
Any input is appreciated. This inquiry is more than hypothetical for me.
As a side note, our family trip out West was wonderful (Grand Canyon, Sedona, & Monument Valley were my favorite stops). All that being said, it’s great to be home!
38. GOD ALMIGHTY IS THE JUDGE, NOT MORTAL MEN.
Genesis 50:19 – “Joseph said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God?’”
In one sense, Joseph, as Prime Minister over all of Egypt, was about as close as a human could come to being in the place of deity. He had tremendous authority and vast resources at his disposal. Had he desired to harm his brothers, he certainly could have done so. The power Joseph wielded did not corrupt him, however, for he understood this important lesson: God is the judge, not man. He knew God would administer appropriate judgment upon their heads (cf. Rom. 12:17-21).
37. GOD CAN USE THE WICKED CHOICES OF MEN FOR MUCH GOOD.
Genesis 45:5 – “But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.”
This is one of the most amazing lessons of Genesis to me. In fact, it is one of the most incredible lessons we can see from the Scriptures, period. How God, in His great wisdom and providence, can see the future and know how it will unfold based upon the free will decisions of human beings, and then use those decisions (good or bad) to accomplish His will is beyond amazing to me (cf. 50:20)! Joseph’s understanding of this principle no doubt helped him not bear a grudge against his brothers, and it can help us do the same.
36. PROTECT YOUR CONSCIENCE FROM LANGUISHING GUILT.
Genesis 42:21,22 – “Then they said to one another, ‘We are truly guilty concerning our brother, for we saw the anguish of his soul when he pleaded with us, and we would not hear; therefore this distress has come upon us.’ And Reuben answered them, saying, ‘Did I not speak to you, saying, “Do not sin against the boy”; and you would not listen? Therefore behold, his blood is now required of us.’”
Some sins are life changing in that they damage our conscience and burden us with long-term guilt. Such was the case with Joseph’s brothers. I have to wonder: Did they recall their ill treatment of Joseph every time something unfortunate happened to them? Why would they still be thinking of this after twenty years? Why, after so long, was it still in the front of their minds? The answer probably lies in the heavy burden they had indirectly placed upon their father–a burden which they saw regularly. The grief of their father coupled with their deception of him caused them to suffer from languishing guilt. They felt the sting of that guilt afresh when they are faced with a trial, but, fascinatingly, even being treated graciously reminds them of it (cf. 42:25-28). Even nearly four decades after they had sold Joseph, they are still carrying guilt and fear over the matter (cf. 50:15). Learn from their mistake: protect your conscience at all costs by living righteously and, when you do commit iniquity, don’t compound it by sinning further to cover your initial transgression (cf. II Sam. 11).
35. ALWAYS LOOK FOR THE GOOD IN ADVERSITY.
Genesis 39:21-23 – “But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners who were in the prison; whatever they did there, it was his doing. The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph’s authority, because the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD made it prosper.”
Joseph didn’t deserve to be a slave or a prisoner, but that was his reality nevertheless. He dealt with his circumstances exceedingly well and God blessed him. Like Joseph we must stay strong, keep the faith, and never quit doing what is right. Even when we are burdened with problems, there is always good to be thankful for and to motivate us to keep on walking in the light with gratitude.
34. THE WISE WILL AVOID TEMPTING SITUATIONS AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.
Genesis 39:7-10 – “And it came to pass after these things that his master’s wife cast longing eyes on Joseph, and she said, ‘Lie with me.’ But he refused and said to his master’s wife: ‘Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand. There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?’ So it was, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he did not heed her, to lie with her or to be with her.”
Joseph couldn’t completely avoid her, but he did his best to stay away. Perhaps the best way to keep from yielding to temptation is to simply avoid it as much as possible. Don’t go to places where you are likely to be drawn into sin. What a lesson for us today! And where we are unable to avoid tempting situations, we must be strong and resist the devil’s snares (cf. James 4:7).
I don’t know anything about the gentleman other than the two videos I watched were well done. Some good thought provoking stuff!
Click the links for 2 thought-provoking videos on this subject:
6 min (briefly explaining the philosophy):
2 min (briefly explaining the symbols):
33. FAVORITISM WITHIN A FAMILY IS ALWAYS TROUBLESOME.
Genesis 37:3 – “Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age. Also he made him a tunic of many colors.”
A special coat and preferential treatment? Couldn’t Jacob see the foolishness of such and the effect it had on the brothers? The family dynamic Jacob created led to a lot of pain when he lost Joseph for twenty years.
32. A GOOD LEADER WILL NOT OVERDRIVE.
Genesis 33:13,14 – “But Jacob said to him, ‘My Lord knows that the children are weak, and the flocks and herds which are nursing are with me. And if the men should drive them hard one day, all the flock will die. Please let my lord go on ahead before his servant. I will lead on slowly at a pace which the livestock that go before me, and the children, are able to endure…’”
Leaders must be aware of the potential of driving their followers too hard (and this can happen either intentionally or unintentionally). Good leaders will lead with all patience and longsuffering (cf. II Tim. 4:2), for the good of those they lead. This is not to say that good leaders will never challenge or even rebuke when necessary, but they must avoid overdriving. As is so often the case, balance is the key here.
31. DO NOT DEPRIVE PEOPLE OF THE BLESSING OF GIVING.
Genesis 33:8-11 – “Then Esau said, ‘What do you mean by all this company which I met?’ And he said, ‘These are to find favor in the sight of my lord.’ But Esau said, ‘I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.’ And Jacob said, ‘No, please, if I have now found favor in your sight, then receive my present from my hand, inasmuch as I have seen your face as though I had seen the face of God, and you were pleased with me. Please, take my blessing that is brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough.’ So he urged him, and he took it.”
Esau had plenty and so did Jacob. Jacob wanted to give a gift to his brother. Esau was reluctant but finally accepted. It is truly more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). Thus, if someone wants to give you something, do the best you can to receive it graciously–even if you don’t need it. Don’t deprive someone of the blessing that is found in being kind or generous.
30. WORKING FOR FAMILY IS OFTEN TROUBLESOME.
Genesis 31:6,7 – “And you know that with all my might I have served your father. Yet your father has deceived me and changed my wages ten times, but God did not allow him to hurt me.”
Laban did not treat Jacob the best (although Jacob’s behavior toward Laban was not entirely above reproach either). The point here is that it can be very difficult working for family, even with the potential benefits. It’s not impossible or always bad, but without clearly defined roles of authority and mutual respect and consideration, things can get nasty.
29. ONE MAN WITH MORE THAN ONE WOMAN IS ALWAYS TROUBLESOME.
Genesis 30:1 – “Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister, and said to Jacob, ‘Give me children, or else I die!’”
I remember the mining accident in South America a couple years back. One of the trapped miners was married yet he had a mistress (actually two mistresses!). His infidelity caused a lot of trouble and heartache. As a side note, no matter how carefully someone plans a wicked act (and marital infidelity is a wicked act), there are no guarantees you won’t get caught. This man got stuck in a mine for two months and wasn’t around to keep the deception going–but I digress. Jacob, son of Isaac, ended up with four wives essentially, and there were many problems (rivalry among the women and among their children). God’s way is always best: one man and one woman for life (cf. I Kings 11:1ff)!
28. TRUE LOVE CAN MAKE HEAVY BURDENS LIGHT.
Genesis 29:20 – “So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her.”
Working seven years in order to get married is a long time, but, as they say, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” The years just seemed like a few days to Jacob because of his love. And so it should be with us as Christians. When we really love the Lord, keeping His commandments will not be a burden but a joy (cf. I John 5:3).
27. “A FEW DAYS” CAN EASILY BECOME DECADES.
Genesis 27:44 – “And stay with him a few days, until your brother’s fury turns away.”
Jacob was instructed to leave for “a few days” but it turned into twenty years! I wonder how many people dabble in sin and tell themselves: “I’ll just do this one time.” And they end up enslaved to it! Jacob didn’t intend to be away from home that long, but that’s the way things worked out. The wise should take heed.
26. PARENTS HAVE A DUTY TO HELP THEIR CHILDREN FIND GODLY MATES.
Genesis 24:2-4 – “So Abraham sent to the oldest servant of his house, who ruled over all that he had, ‘Please, put your hand under my thigh, and I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell; but you shall go to my country and to my family, and take a wife for my son Isaac.’”
I realize our culture is different today than it was then regarding the selection of a mate, but truthfully, I think that parents should still be involved in this process. Ideally, parents should be training their children from the pre-teen years about what to look for in a mate, how to be a godly husband or wife, etc. That way, when the time comes, wise choices will hopefully be made. Abraham took this duty seriously and so should all parents.
I’ve got a semantics question, fellows, after seeing this recent FB post:
“The Bible does not contain the Word of God; the Bible is the Word of God. There is a difference.”
*What is your definition of “the Bible”?*
For me, I actually prefer the statement “the Bible contains the word of God.” I define the Bible as Genesis through maps. :) There are lots of things in our modern Bibles that are not the “word of God” (e.g., concordance, chapter & verse divisions, footnotes, etc.). If the imitation leather cover says “Holy Bible,” then everything inside is a part of the “Bible”, right? Thus, is it not better to say: “The Bible contains the word of God”? (I actually prefer lowercase “w” on “word” when not referring to the Logos, but I won’t go in to that right now… :)
Even some things within Scripture itself (like Satan’s lie in Gen. 3:4) is not really the “word of God,” is it? I understand that Gen. 3:4 is an accurate account of what Satan said AND that the Spirit inspired Moses to make a record of it, but how can a LIE be “the word of God”? I find this terminology troubling. Gen. 3:4 IS Scripture, but is it the “word of God”?
Your thoughts are most welcome.
25. GOD WON’T ASK YOU TO DO SOMETHING HE IS UNWILLING TO DO HIMSELF.
Genesis 22:2 – “Then He said, ‘Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.’”
This chapter is one of my favorites in the first book of the Bible. I’m amazed by Abraham’s faith and willingness to trust God here (despite his deficiency we just noted from chapter 20). The point to bring out at this time is simple: God asked Abraham to sacrifice the thing that was most precious to him (i.e., Isaac). Abraham was willing to do it (although he ended up not having to do so since the Lord provided an alternative). With a great deal of foreshadowing, we should think of the cross where God was willing to sacrifice the thing that was most precious to Him (i.e., Jesus). But, there would be no substitute for Jesus–He Himself was the substitute! God may ask a lot of sacrifices of us who choose to follow Him, but there is nothing unfair or unreasonable about His requests. He’s already made those same sacrifices (and more) for us!